‘I plan to change misconceptions’: Tunisian model is first ever Muslim face of Lancome

A Tunisian model has been signed as the first ever Muslim face of Lancome.

Hanaa Ben Abdesslem is the latest ambassadress for the brand and features in the new campaign for Teint Idole Ultra 24h foundation.

The 22-year-old made her runway debut for Vivienne Westwood last year – and hasn't looked back.

hanaa ben abdesslem

Oh la la: Hanaa Ben Abdesslem is the new face and ambassadress of Lancome

She has since landed editorials for French Vogue and walked the runway for Givenchy, Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta.

But rather than just be a clothes horse, the Muslim model – who doesn't drink alcohol or smoke – is hell-bent on changing perceptions of the modelling industry at home.

After winning second prize on the Lebanese equivalent of reality show Project Runway, Hanaa signed with modelling agency IMG.

She told New York Magazine: '(People in Tunisia) have this misconception of what modeling is about.

'Modeling can be a career choice, too. I plan to change this misconception within my culture.'

Hanaa Ben Abdesslem

Rising star: The Tunisian model has walked the runway for Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy and Ralph Lauren

Isabella Rossellini

Dead ringer: The model looks like actress and former face of Lancome, Isabella Rossellini

'I met an Arab woman, Sophie Galal, who shared my views and
ideas about changing and exposing the true challenges of the modeling
profession for the Arab world.

'She soon became my manager and presented
me to IMG.'

Despite her intentions to shake things up, the Muslim model is still immensely proud of her roots.

She said in an interview: 'My country is rich in history and traditions.

a culture that’s been influenced and shaped by a succession of
civilizations that includes the Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Fatimid
Arabs and Ottomans.

'I grew up surrounded by all these influences and I am proud to be a part of that culture.'

The decision to hire a North African model was no doubt more than a coincidence.

The modelling industry is beginning to expand, looking for girls from across the world to represent diverse cultures.

Paul Rowland, head of Ford's women's
division told the New York Times: 'My ideal legacy at Ford would be to
open up the idea of beauty, not only being classic but being global.

'I want to find girls in Egypt or Sri Lanka or India — all the places where people don’t look.'

And it seems Lancome has taken a step in that direction.

Hanna also bears more than a passing resemblance to a former Lancome model, Italian actress Isabella Rossellini.

Youcef Nabi, President of Lancme International, said: 'It’s incredible how much Hanaa reminds me of Isabella Rossellini.

'Her universal beauty simply channels the je-ne-sais-quoi that makes the uniqueness, strength and charm of every Lancme woman.'

Teint Idole Ultra 24H, 27, is available nationwide from the 1st February and comes in 18 shades